Sixty-two-year-old former pro Mike, and his kids, Mason and Coco, sweep away the debris in any lineup…
Yeah, I know, y’seen plenty of Mason and Coco and Daddy Ho zipping through traffic on the North Shore.
Six days ago, it was at Pipe, watch here, today it’s at that locals-only wedge with the roll-in takeoff just north of Sunset and that no man, especially no white man, dare say its name.
(In stage whisper, Velzyland…)
I would recommend viewing of this four-minute short for several reasons. One, the crossovers between Mason and Mike, and which are recorded from the land and from Mason’s flotilla of GoPro POV units, the Mick Jagger-like pomp in Coco’s flashy surfing (did you know Coco is working with Jagger in New York?), Mason’s trigger finger popping hither and yon and the miracle of a man in his harvest years, sixty-two, still exhibiting the daily conditioned skills that long ago almost swept him into contention for a world title.
Mike Feb, an explosion of warmth and good will.
Watch: Mike February in “This surfboard ain’t got no wrong notes!”
Lines are as perfect as a rapt baby rocking gently on a swing…
Two months ago, the surf writer Mr James Brisick, sometimes of Malibu, sometimes NYC’s lower east side, wrote a story for TheNew Yorker that read, in part, “(Mike Feb’s) hand jive, soul arches, and toreador-like flourishes play to the camera in a way that breaks the spell of the itinerant surfer in far-flung solitude. His style is as self-conscious as the duck-face selfie.”
I think, correct when Mike’s on a throw-back craft because what else is there to do except go straight and be sexy, but, as you can see below, on a regular board, in this case a CI Happy, his lines are as perfect as a rapt baby rocking gently on a swing and as hard to argue with as a Saint Bernard dog guarding his master’s bicycle.
Mike’s surfboard, if you care about such things, which I do, measures five feet and eleven inches long, nineteen and three-sixteenths inches wide and is two and three-eighths inches thick for a grand total of twenty-nine litres.
Your favourite vagabonds, in the one spot, at the one time!
Looking out, open-mouthed, at very square tubes at Pipeline and Mason and Coco and Uncle Dez and Daddy Mike trading sets, well, it reminds me I’ll never be anything more than a vibration rather than a solid.
In this five-minute edit by (the fabulous) Rory Pringle, Lachlan Peanut Mckinnon, Chaddy Witz, Andrew Schoener and Justin Rutherford and scored to a Hendrix soundtrack from Mason’s mammy, Brian (yeah, yeah, it ain’t a traditional name for a woman), we see the fam treading a familiar pasture.
A little history of the Ho’s, if it’s necessary. Mike Ho, with his Chinese-Hawaiian-American heritage, was 30 years old and on his last tour circuit when his girl, Brian, a Caucasian American, became pregnant.
Mike’s dad was pure Chinese. His grandmother pure Hawaiian. Mike’s mom, Mason’s paternal grandma, was from Oregon. The brother of one of Mike’s good friends was named Mason. Mike dug it. He threw a little Hawaiian in there, Kaohelaulii, a middle name that’s been carried by the Hos since Mason’s paternal grandfather. It means: “New little bamboo shoot coming out from the old. It bends and it’s hard to break,” says Mike.
Mike had bought land up there at Backyards, Sunset, and a small house was constructed. The marriage broke up after the birth of Mason’s sister Coco, two years later. And soon, the jokester and former-pro surfer was in the serious biz of being a single parent to two kids.
“I was ‘fun dad,’” Mike says. “I’m like, ‘Surf is good, let’s go surfing. Okay, no school today.’ Yeah, I was bad. I was a bad, fun dad.”
Unless it was Pipe. “‘Go to school. Dad’s going to surf Pipe today.’”
Mike plays it down though.
It ain’t easy when the spigot of cash from pro surfing is off and you’re thirty-something-years-old and your marriage is done. But, says, Dino Andino, “No matter how hard it got, no matter what he was going through, or doing, he always had ’em to school on time, dressed and fed. He never faltered. Ever. Mike Ho is an awesome, awesome dad.”
And, look at ’em now, all meticulously walking the Pipe tightrope.
Whatever you think of wave tanks, y'gotta admit, this is about as dreamy as a lineup gets. And it's Bristol.
Bristol wavepool: Watch Kanoa Igarashi and Travis Rice in “Robust enjoyment at a very expensive sanitorium!”
A new angle on the British Wavegarden tank. Better, worse, than you might imagine.
After eight months of cold labour in the English city of Bristol, one of the better cities in a country populated by people with fish smell on their breath, hideous raven hair and guinea pig faces, we have The Wave.
Last year’s wetsuit film was A New Jersey Wetsuit Fairytale starring slab-hunter Tommy Ihnken surfing around Asbury Park and cut to covers of Springsteen songs.
The conceit of this year’s film is time travel.
To wit, what if a surfer from the future time travelled back to Raglan in 1984 with 2019’s best wetsuits?
What would it mean thirty-five years on?
Would we be wearing wetsuits with wings? Purple wetsuits? Invisible wetsuits?
The film features suits from Billabong, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Feral, Quiksilver, Vissla and Xcel whose donations made this film possible. It’s a measure, a reflection, I think, of a company’s connection to surfing when they cut generous cheques to make little culture bites that may not bounce straight back onto the bottom line but do add to the game, as a whole.